Sunday, November 29, 2009
Local events boost holiday spirit
Last week, I took two days off from my flurry of typing (that novel does not write itself!) in favor of Thanksgiving with George's parents in Liberty. His sister, Jennifer, was away at her husband's family reunion, which left just the four of us at the table. We didn't much mind. After all, there was still turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls, gravy, cranberries and pie. Plus some other stuff, mostly vegetables, you get the idea. Jerry even wore his sweatpants all day, that's how relaxed we were. Kept the game on (muted) through dinner.
After the usual post-dinner yawn-a-thon, I retired for my annual nap, hoping to gain strength before the Plaza Lighting. This yearly event, now in its 80th year, had somehow been missed by both Carole and Jerry, despite their living here in KC since George was a toddler. Most likely because they were befuddled by turkey hormones, we were able to confuse them into the car, where we proceeded to park a fortnight away from the area and then herd them along dark, cold streets with hundreds of strangers. They did not follow along promptly with my speed walking. It never works for me anymore.
Anyway, this year's lighting was done by Jason Sudeikis of SNL fame, a Kansas City native. Thanks to the million tall people who turned out, I couldn't see him. I held the camera up really, really high in order to take pictures. George noted that only 1% of the world's population is over 6 feet tall, making his "people" a true minority. It is his new favorite saying. Do not pity them. Tall people, at least for shorties like me, are everywhere and continually ruining the view.
Anyway, the lights flickered on with holiday music blaring over the speakers and a weirdly patriotic fireworks display fired us all up for America instead of Christmas but whatever.
Lights make me feel like the plaza is friendly. Pretty lights.
In contrast, the Garnett Holiday Parade, this year's was entitled 'A Christmas to Remember' by a local sixth grader, was mostly lit by streetlamp. George and I wandered down to the square yesterday evening to see it. It's always after Thanksgiving, so we haven't been down before. The square was crowded. I've truly never seen so many people lining the streets in Garnett. We joked that if we had driven down, we'd still have to park our car at home, about two blocks away.
Other than our city and state officials riding around on golf carts, the rest of the parade was a testament to small town adorableness. In the complete dark, we could barely see the kids on ponies or the high school marching band. Three of the floats were brightly lit and festive. Church-made floats could be a surprise. My least favorite had a couple of angels with mean-looking swords standing beside a pole while the nativity scene was enacted at the end of the float. The angels looked menacing, which made me fear for the baby Jesus. My favorite thing was this old guy riding a scooter who looked pissed off at being there. I think he was a Lions club member. He threw candy at the kids backhandedly, really hard. Like he was trying to brain them. I am obviously childless because I thought it was funny.
Between the two events, George and I should be fully embracing the holiday spirit. Instead, we squandered the rest of our weekend raking leaves in the yard and watching television. We're exhausted already and it hasn't even snowed.